Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, government, public policy, sports scene and pop culture of Europe, Sweden, the U.S. & South Florida. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura.
Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sadly, Iceland and the Aurora Borealis have been subtracted from my trip itinerary; Putting the awe back in awesome: Auroras over Sweden make you feel very insignificant in the bigger scheme of things, so you need to positively influence the things that you CAN!; @STFAbisko


VideoFromSpace YouTube Channel video: 3 Years of Amazing Auroras Captured on Video by Chad Blakley at Abisko National Park, Sweden. Uploaded June 12, 2012.
http://youtu.be/DaWAgch0GFM
Sadly, Iceland and the Aurora Borealis have been subtracted from my trip itinerary; Putting the awe back in awesome: Auroras over Sweden make you feel very insignificant in the bigger scheme of things, so you need to positively influence the things that you CAN!; @STFAbisko
Or, jag tänker inte Island som planerat.
Some of you already know this from emails or phone calls of mine the past few weeks, but for others of you, this will be the first you hear of it: I'm not going to be going to Iceland in January as originally planned.
My big plans to stop there for a few days on the way back from Sweden, and to hop on a sweet tour bus and take a long-but-comfortable drive a few hours north of Reykjavik to see the Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis are officially kaput. 

It's mostly because in October, I booked non-refundable airline tickets on SAS and had to pay in advance for the airfare, hotel and the B&B in Stockholm that I'm staying at to get the specific travel dates I wanted, ostensibly, in order to get back in time to watch the public Presidential Inaugural on Monday the 21st.
The non-Romney inaugural as it turns out

This required that I make some changes to my original itinerary, as discussed here on the blog back on July 18, 2012, titled, Want to see a sneak peek of my future? Prescient geniuses with a camera at BeepShow have already filmed part of my future -away from the heat & humidity of Miami- and it includes Iceland and the Northern Lights. But sadly, I'll end up missing Sigur Rós at Iceland Airwaves; #Iceland, #BeepShow, #Icelandair
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/want-to-see-sneak-peek-of-my-future.html

As previously seen on that post: 


London to Iceland in Ten Minutes from Beep Show on Vimeo.
Beep Show video: London to Iceland in Ten Minutes. 2012.
Complete information about video is here: http://vimeo.com/45121903


Still, it's not like you can't see the Aurora Borealis from Sweden, you just have to be smart, resourceful AND patient... like the people who captured the wonderful videos above and below.

For me to see it in two weeks, I'll obviously have to leave greater Stockholm so I can be free of the city's light pollution.
On the other hand, while I'm there, there will be a whole lot LESS hours of light -daylight- for me than what I'm used to, as sunrise there will be sometime after 8:30 a.m. and sundown will be around 3:30 p.m.
Yes, you read that correctly, sundown at 3:30 p.m.

Just so you know, since I'm guessing that most of you reading this have never heard of it, the city of Abisko, located in Norrbottenthe northernmost county in Sweden, up near the Norwegian border and the Lappland area of Finland, is considered one of the best places on the planet to see the aurora borealis phenomena.
That's largely because the mountains around there catch most of the precipitation in winter and prevent it from interfering with the night time views.
That explains why so many of the videos on this post and uploaded to YouTube were recorded there.
It's a target-rich environment.


View Larger Map


According to this article in the newspaper up in distant Norrbotten, NSD, i.e. the Norrländska Socialdemokratenhttp://www.nsd.se/nyheter/ bookings to the Abisko Turiststation STFa.k.a. STF Abisko, increased by 130% over last year, a banner year. 
http://www.nsd.se/nyheter/artikel.aspx?ArticleID=7366284

According to this article, what's especially noticeable now are the number of Northern Lights tourists coming from Japan and Great Britain, which sort of stands to reason given both how Internet-savvy those countries are, and how famous their citizens are are for traveling and exploring.

For the Japanese, it's about a nine-hour plane ride from Tokyo, but for the Brits, it's much less daunting to get to the nearest airport, Kiruna, via stops in Oslo or Stockholm Arlanda.

Official STF Abisko website:
http://www.svenskaturistforeningen.se/sv/upptack/Omraden/Lappland/Fjallstationer/STF-Abisko-Turiststation/


Meanwhile, over at Porjus, the #1 place to see the aurora according to many informed sources, there's a LIVE streaming camera you might want to check out: http://uk.jokkmokk.jp/detail_nr3.shtml

http://www.porjus.eu/


VideoFromSpace YouTube Channel video:Chad Blakley's latest video of an ionized oxygen aurora over Abisko National Park, Sweden. Uploaded December 19, 2012 
http://youtu.be/7yN9lcJIeLA



VideoFromSpace YouTube Channel video: Awe-Inspiring Northern Lights Shine Over Sweden, December 2012. Shot from Abisko National Park, Sweden. Uploaded December 13, 2012. http://youtu.be/N79ATuvHi1Y

See more from Chad Blakley at http://www.lightsoverlapland.com and http://digitaljournal.com/article/327325



tonakai82 YouTube Channel video: Aurora Borealis from Abisko Sky Station in northern Sweden 2012. Uploaded December 15, 2012. http://youtu.be/kc9Ds3b1IKk

More photos at: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/63402501@N07/sets/72157632201759165/  



GregTechnology YouTube Channel video: Aurora in Abisko -The northern lights blaze in Arctic Sweden. Uploaded December 13, 2012. http://youtu.be/E4BbfrF5PxE



skbailey YouTube Channel video: Doggylights. Uploaded December 6, 2012.
http://youtu.be/9b3wgmu_9Ko



tenorsominutesagos YouTube Channel video: A Day and Night at the Aurora Sky Station, Abisko, Sweden. Uploaded December 25, 2011. 
http://youtu.be/NkAJBmg3E1Y

I'm concluding today's post with a non-aurora video of snow-heavy Abisko from two days ago, the day before Christmas, with a temperature of about negative 25 Fahrenheit...



Joachim Floberg YouTube Channel video: Abisko Julen 2012.  Uploaded December 24, 2012. http://youtu.be/lIuwAbbZHV0

Trivia: Sweden has a base compound in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan that's officially called "Northern Lights."
 -----
See more at...
English aurora photographer Patricia Covern, now living in Porjus: 
http://www.arctic-color.com/

www.auroraskystation.com

http://www.visitreykjavik.is/ 

http://www.youtube.com/user/VideoFromSpace

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.
If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'dALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, theCity of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester forYEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with lots of potential because of its terrific location, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.
I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY here among Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials.Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru simple public scrutiny, or requires a degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of incompetency, cronyism or simple negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
Unless otherwise indicated, all ORIGINAL photos appearing here were taken by myself. © 2014 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The use or modification of original photos or original images appearing on this blog WITHOUT the written permission of the author is expressly prohibited. DO NOT modify or alter any original photo/image on this blog and use it in any other media, whether for commercial advertising, marketing purposes, political campaign advertising, or on any Social Media platform or digital media forum. Do NOT modify or alter the photos or use them in a confusing way that suggests sponsorship or endorsement, or in a way that seeks to confuse Hallandale Beach Blog with another blog. This includes but is not limited to sites such as Dipity, Facebook, flickr, MySpace, Pinterest, Posterous, Topsy, Twitter, YouTube or VIMEO. Original photos and images also can NOT be used as avatars or icons on website forums.
Some older elements and building blocks formerly seen at Hallandale Beach Blog, such as photos, graphics and videos have been moved into cold storage. Visit them again or see what you've missed at: http://hallandale-beach-blog.blogspot.com/

New this year: you!

New this year: you!
Close-up photo of the cute head-turning window display at the Apotek Hjärtat -Sweden's largest independent pharmacy chain- located at Ringvägen 113, near the Skanstull T-bana in Södermalm, Stockholm. Sign reads, "Årets nyhet: du! Ett helt nytt och obrukat år är här. Just nu känns det lite lättare att välja om, förändra vanor och bryta gamla mönster. Vi hjälper gärna till. Du vill, du kan, du törs!' (New this year: you! A brand new and unused year is here. Right now it feels a little easier to choose, change habits and break old patterns. We're happy to help. You want to, you can, you dare!) Sounds like good advice that I ought to be following, too! January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL
City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex, 400 S. Federal Highway. The City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex: If it's true that a fish rots from the head down, so it does in local government in Broward County, FL. This monument sign on the west side of the intersection of U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, alerts you to your proximity to HB City Hall and the HB Police Department HQ. It's a place and culture whose very own words and actions have made clear to taxpayers of this city -regardless of age, race or income- that it holds itself apart from and above from the very citizens it's supposed to serve, often acting like they don't have to follow the same laws that govern everyone else in the state of Florida and the U.S., whether of logic, reason or contracts. (More to the point of this blog, the Florida Statutes on Sunshine Laws and Public Records.) City employees in Hallandale Beach routinely refuse to answer perfectly reasonable questions posed to them by taxpayers, and as I have found out myself and witnessed, are not above berating you for even having the nerve to ask! As it happens, it's also not a very safe area, despite who operates here, and over the past nine years, the public parking lots have often been pitch-black for 6-9 months at a time, including in front of the HB Police Dept. HQ. Then-Police Chief Thomas Magill even shrugged his shoulders at City Comm. meetings when told about this a few times. As if they couldn't make a worse first impression, at one point, even the spotlights shining on this sign didn't work at night for over FOUR YEARS, either. October 13, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes
Palm tree obstructing the sun at Hallandale Beach City Hall, May 28, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL
Entrance monument to Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex on U.S.-1 & SE 3rd St. Hallandale Beach, FL. October 5, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower, looking east from State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive; May 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!
IU All-American and U.S. Olympian Steve Alford on the cover of the 1987 Indiana University basketball media guide, months after IU won the NCAA basketball title.

The NCAA Championship Banners

The NCAA Championship Banners
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. I was there in 1981 for NCAA Title #4 vs. North Carolina. Click on photo to go to the IU Basketball homepage.

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot
Like longtime U-M fans everywhere, including me, Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot, hasn't had very much to cheer about lately, given the general state of mediocrity and underwhelming performances coming from the Hurricanes. Isn't it about time for fans to finally see some tangible signs that the new AD is moving things in the right direction? Where are the signs? I'm NOT seeing them. The woeful U-M Women's program is largely composed of teams that are NOT even close to being competitive for NCAA titles like their ACC competition, and they don't even field Women's Lacrosse or Field Hockey teams. It's embarrassing! Click on Sebastian for retrospective photo gallery of The Orange Bowl

ABBA

ABBA
The welcoming party that greeted me at the luggage carousel at Arlanda Stockholm Airport in January of 2013 was... ABBA. As seen in my May 7, 2013 blog post. Click photo to see that post!

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)

#Södermalm

Hej #STHLM, jag saknar dig, hejdå. So wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

Using a map of Stockholm and my Samsung mobile's Latitude app to find out where some friends and contacts in Stockholm were before I called to let them know I'd arrived from Arlanda Airport and had checked into the B&B in Södermalm. If only it had been an OpenStreetMap! January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved; Click the photo to see OpenStreetMap's amazing map of Stockholm and a whole world of useful maps you never even knew existed

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök
The colder and snowier it got in Stockholm, the more this simple ad seemed like genius. Sometimes, you don't have to reinvent the advertising wheel. When you're a travel agency and it's cold and snowing, make your target audience think of summers and traveling to an inviting warm beach. Above, one of the many Sistaminuten.se display ads I saw on the side of pay phones throughout Stockholm. This one was located on Ringvägen, across the street from the Åhléns Dept. store (with the Hemköp grocery store in the basement that I frequented) west of busy Götgatan and the Skanstull T-bana, the southern commercial heart of trendy and fun Södermalm. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. I used this photo in my April 22, 2013 blog post titled, Tourism game-changer for South Florida travelers & Fort Lauderdale-area businesses -but only if they're smart and start planning now. Ruminations on the upcoming Norwegian.com flights b/w Ft. Lauderdale and Oslo, Stockholm & Copenhagen, and the need for Broward's hospitality industry to take full-advantage of the opportunity; @Oslo, @norway, @stockholm, @sweden, @copenhagen, @denmark. Click photo to see that post

More travel advertising in Stockholm

More travel advertising in Stockholm
Speaking of advertising, only two blocks from the wonderful 4trappor B&B I stayed at in Södermalm, Stockholm on my trip -and also located on Ringvägen- were two more display ads promoting travel. The one in the distance is for SAS, Scandinavian Airlines Systems, which I flew on to Stockholm, and the one in the foreground, on a public telephone booth, is the "Holiday is where the Heart is" ad campaign for VING. January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Click the photo to see their TV ad!

Risk för snöras, istappar

Risk för snöras, istappar
One of the many such warning signs that I saw on buildings and on sidewalk barricades while in Stockholm in mid-January 2013, alerting you to the possibility of falling snow and ice, often by men shoveling it off roofs. This one was spotted on a residential building in the Södermalm area of Stockholm, on Ringvägen, while I was walking over to the Åhléns Department store on Götgatan. It wasn't until I was walking back later to the B&B that I noticed the inflated Santa that some resident had intentionally placed outside of their window, so it looked like Santa was falling! January 13, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display on Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The Affischplats plan in Stockholm, while not perfect, strikes me as a pretty good compromise in helping cultural and civic groups catch the public's eye in a way that's better than a free-for-all of groups plastering posters on the sides of buildings and utility boxes, and watching as the weather makes a mess of them. The tangible effort the city makes to get the public involved in a genuine and meaningful conversation about what is going on long-term for the city as a whole, or in a particular neighborhood, is very impressive, and made me wishful that the local government employees and planners where I live and write about regularly in my blog and in conversations with other concerned civic activists did even one-third of what Stockholm's planning employees seem to do as a starting-point.